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Last Updated: Monday October 16 2006 06:36 GMT

Row over wearing veils in schools

Muslim women wearing the veil at a protest

A row about religion is getting bigger after a Muslim teaching assistant was suspended for not taking off her veil.

Politicians and Muslim groups have been talking about whether Aishah Azmi is right to wear her veil in classes.

It's started an argument over whether religious symbols stop people from different backgrounds getting on.

The UK is home to lots of people from different backgrounds, religions and cultures. Many of them have beliefs which affect what they choose to wear.

Some Muslim women say the holy book the Koran tells them that they should wear the veil. Some cover up their faces completely, like Ms Azmi.

Muslim women wearing the veil

Some people have complained that the veil can make it difficult for children to understand Ms Azmi in lessons.

Ms Azmi, who works at a junior school in Dewsbury, said that the pupils never complained about it. She is happy to take the veil off in front of children, but not if she has to work with a male teacher.

Two important members of the government said on Sunday that she shouldn't wear a veil in lessons.

One of them, the minister in charge of trying to make sure different races and religions get on, said he thought Ms Azmi should be sacked.

A spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain said the MP, Phil Woolas, shouldn't have said what he did. They added that the school or even the courts should decide if she has to wear the veil or not.

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